Job losses at Cavalier Spinners will go ahead.

Staff began to trickle out of a meeting at the company's Whanganui site just after 2.30pm today after Cavalier Bremworth management confirmed the restructure proposed two weeks ago.

The company will merge its woollen yarn spinning operations into a single hub in Napier and shift its felted yarn operation from Christchurch to Whanganui, closing the Christchurch plant.

Cavalier's 108 Whanganui staff will lose their jobs, but have the chance to apply for one of 40 jobs in a new felting operation in the River City, or 39 new spinning jobs in Napier.


The restructure will mean 68 fewer jobs in Whanganui.

Many of the staff did not want to comment but were clearly disappointed by the news.

"It's just really sad, what's happening, though I can understand why they are doing it," said Douglas Bowen, who has been with the company for more than 11 years.

He said others had been with the company a lot longer, and it was particularly bad for them.

He was coming up to retirement - "But I'm still having to leave before I really want to."

The meeting had involved "quite a reasonable presentation from the management", he said. Each employee had been given a pack outlining the proposal, the new job opportunities and a rough calculation of redundancy payments.

FIRST Union Whanganui union organiser Kaye Hearfield said her preference had been to retain all the jobs in Whanganui and she would never be happy with the outcome.

"Unfortunately, even though there were a couple of counter-proposals put forward, the company, after their consideration felt that it wasn't enough to retain their current processing so they're going forward with what they had proposed," Ms Hearfield said.

The details of the counter-proposals were not revealed.

"The reality is we now have to work to make sure that our members get the support and process adhered to.

"There's mixed feeling. People were really feeling like they were in limbo, but there's more of a direction with timeframes on when it's going to be phased out. So they've got those timeframes now."

Ms Hearfield said the present operation in Whanganui was to be phased out by September with the new felting operation to be running by October. She hoped all staff would apply for the new jobs.

"Everyone's got the same opportunity. It's a whole new division, which means it's bringing in new skills. People have shown their loyalty over the years and commitment, so I'm hoping that the clear majority will definitely reapply."

Union delegate Tony Mudgway said the company would have one-on-one meetings with staff over the next 24 hours and staff would find out who was retaining a job in two weeks.

Cavalier CEO Paul Alston said the company would now work with the unions and staff on relocation opportunities.

"We see a positive future in wool carpets, and for the whole business, but the market has been in decline and we did need to consolidate our operations in order to realise future growth," he said.